"We don’t live in tents and ride camels."

Questions and Answers with Salam Qumsiyeh

Do you have any pets? If so, what are their names?

 I wish! I love pets, but my mom doesn’t agree on having a pet in the house, because here pets can get dirty, not like in the States. When I was living in the States, I had a beautiful female Maine Coon, called Chai.

What kind of house do you live in? How many rooms are in it? What is it made out of?

 Houses in my country are made out of stone. I live in a beautiful two-story building made out of a unique stone design. In the first story lives my family and in the second one lives my grandmother. Our house contains of three rooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, and a living room.

What does your neighborhood look like?

 A small road. Houses close to each other, not much different from a small neighborhood in the State of CT (where I used to live).

 What is one thing you would like outsiders to know about Palestine?

 We don’t live in tents and ride camels. We are not backwards. We live like you, except that we live under the Israeli occupation. We don’t have our basic rights due to this occupation, such as the control of our own water sources and our roads. We have no right of movement, even within what is called the Palestinian territories. There ARE Christians in Palestine and the rest of the Arab world, in fact, Christ was born in Palestine. We don’t seek the pettiness of the Western world, we love life and want to live, and want the whole world to know the truth about our situation.

 Can you tell us what a typical daily routine is for you?

 I wake up around 7:30am, get ready and go to work at the Municipality of Bethlehem. I work and enjoy my time with my colleges until 2:00pm. I go home, cook with my mother and siblings and have lunch (late lunch). I then video call my bf in the States. In the evening, I either go out with my friends to a bar or such, or stay home until my exercise time at 7:00pm. I go to sleep early these days.

You have spent time in the States. How is your life different in the US (Bridgeport & Bristol, CT) than in Palestine (Bethlehem)?

 The main difference is that in the States I could just get in my car and drive for hours to any direction I wanted. Yet here, the furthest I can drive is for one or two hours, and through this ride I must go through multiple Israeli checkpoints (again within the Palestinian territories/ checkpoints between Palestinian cities in the West Bank). Nature is different as well. In CT it is more of a forest. In Palestine, we have limited space due to the confiscation of lands, and residents’ growth each year who need to expand. The land now is drier because people try to build houses and buildings to cope with their growth.

 Do you work? What is your job?

 I’m a journalist, editor, multimedia producer, and writer. I currently work at the Bethlehem Municipality in the Public Relations office. I have worked in different jobs previously and did many internships. I also write social and political articles for multiple blogs. You can see more of my work through my website listed above.

 Please formulate a question for readers to carry out into the world (for example: “If you could share one thing with me what would it be?” Or “How free are you to create your life?”)

- When you hear the word “a Palestinian”, what comes to your mind first?

- How would you feel if you live in an open-air prison?

-How will you feel if your childhood memories are of war?

"I’m a humanitarian and an advocate for the rights of those who are not able to advocate for themselves." Salam Qumsiyeh

More questions and answers with Salam Qumsiyeh:

 What are your plans for the next 5 years?

 I will be living in the United States with my American husband-to-be and hopefully working in a known and reliable news source as a media production manager.

 What is your spiritual background?

 I was born for a Christian family, baptized and confirmed as a Lutheran Christian. Some years ago, I started thinking more about the world and the existence of God. Today, I consider myself to have my own beliefs. I don’t like to follow any ideology, yet I’m a humanitarian and an advocate for the rights of those who are not able to advocate for themselves.

 What do you see when you look out your window?

 Jerusalem; far away with the existence of checkpoints and restrictions on me by the Israeli government, but close in distance with the fact that it’s only some kilometers away.

 Who lives with you? Do you have siblings? How old are they?

 In my culture, the whole family stays in the same house (father, mother, siblings). We only leave the family house when we go abroad to study or live in a different city to study or work. I live with my mother, my brother (31) and my sister (21). (my dad passed away in July 2018).

“I am Palestinian” an email interview with Salam Qumsiyeh

Salam is an interesting, hardworking young woman who cares deeply about Palestine. She took the time to meet with our tour group when I was in Palestine and has patiently answered questions since I met her.  

Salam, please tell us about yourself.

Salam Qumsiyeh.jpg

My name is Salam Qumsiyeh, 28 years old, from Bethlehem in Palestine. I enjoy music that enters my heart, and same for art. I have many favorite local and international musicians and artists.

Where do you go to learn or listen, to day dream?

I like to be in nature more than anything, although we barely have any left around here, as the land gets more and more confiscated each day by the Israeli government. Most of the space in the Bethlehem area is covered with houses and buildings.

What are your thoughts on the separation wall? How does it affect you?

It’s an apartheid wall not a separation wall. It was NOT built for security, as you hear on the media; it was built to confiscate more land to the Israeli side as well as essential water sources from Palestinians. The apartheid wall was NOT built on the borders between Israel and Palestine according to the Oslo agreement, yet it was built on a map that was designed by the Israeli government. (red = current wall, green = green line/border).

Salam has willingly shared her social media sites if you would like to contact her yourself with questions. We will hear more from Salam soon.

Website: salamq.weebly.com

instagram: Salam Qumsiyeh

Facebook: Salam M Qumsiyeh

Email: qumsiyehsalam@gmail.com